As the SUNDAY PUNCH stated last week, the Indian intelligence warned their counterparts in Colombo not once, not twice but thrice. The first warning, it is said, was given on April 4 the second the day before the attacks, the third hours before the attack. And it was thrice ignored. Indian intelligence was not a general warning. It was what is called ‘actionable intelligence. It did not merely state that there would be attacks but specifically stated that churches and the Indian High Commission would come under attack on Easter Sunday.
Is it unreasonable to assume that the top most concern and priority of the Indian intelligence service would have been the safety of its own High Commission in Colombo and its consulate in Kandy? They would, no doubt, have informed the Indian High Commission of the potential threat, they had extracted from an ISIS suspect in Indian custody.
In such a situation, wouldn’t the Indian High Commissioner have called on the President and or the prime Minister and requested protection for the premises? True, there is an Indian contingent within the premises to guard it from terror attacks even as the US Embassy has a contingent of US marines. But they cannot step out of the premises but has to remain within the sovereign territory of their own country, namely the diplomatic premises.
The question posed to both the President and the Prime Minister is: Did the Indian High Commission approach either and apprise them of the terror threat to the Indian High Commission and to the churches on Easter Sunday? The Indian High Commissioner would not have talked to the defence secretary directly since it’s against diplomatic protocol to talk to a public servant.
Perhaps, it’s best, to clear the foul air, that both the President and the Prime Minister issue an unambiguous statement whether or not the Indian High Commissioner made such a request for Lankan police or troops to guard its entrance and act as a bulwark against the threat its own intelligence service had provided.
A simple ‘yes’ or a simple ‘no’ will do. Or did the Indian High Commissioner, too, even with his own High Commission under threat, keep the President and Prime Minister of Lanka in the dark?